Billionaires interested in buying Chelsea football club have been urged to approach the UK government with potential takeover proposals, after its current oligarch owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned.
Fearing the threat of sanctions, Abramovich, 55, had rushed to sell the club for more than £3billion, sparking interest from British property tycoon Nick Candy, Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, billionaire American private equity firm and Crystal Palace shareholder Josh Harris. , and LA Dodgers American co-owner Todd Boehly.
The UK government on Thursday froze Abramovich’s UK assets, including Chelsea FC and a portfolio of luxury properties including a £150million Kensington Palace mansion in west London and a penthouse £30million three-storey building overlooking Stamford Bridge.
Abramovich was one of seven Russians with close ties to Vladimir Putin whom the British government added to the sanctions list in a bid to dramatically increase pressure on the Kremlin following its invasion of Ukraine. “The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands,” said Liz Truss, the foreign minister. “They should hang their heads in shame.”
Chris Philp, Britain’s digital and technology minister, said on Friday Abramovich would be barred from selling the club, but potential buyers could approach the government with offers to buy the club until the Russian oligarch benefits. disagree.
“As the license terms are written today, the sale would not be permitted,” Philp told Sky News. “However, should a buyer emerge, it would be open to that buyer or that football club to approach the government and ask for the terms to be changed in such a way as to allow that sale to take place.
“To be clear, no proposal would be accepted if the proceeds of any sale ended up in an unrestricted bank account belonging to Abramovich. He cannot benefit from the proceeds of any sale.
Candy, who together with his brother, Christian, developed the luxury One Hyde Park development, said on Friday he was considering submitting a bid to buy the club from the UK government.
“We are reviewing the details of yesterday’s announcement and are still interested in making an offer,” its spokesperson said. “Obviously, this is a time of great uncertainty for all Chelsea fans. In our view, no one owns a football club – you are the guardian of it for the fans and the community.
Club officials met with UK government officials on Thursday and are expected to continue talks in the coming days. A source in Westminster said the government believed a sale of the club should be possible to arrange with relative ease.
It remains to be seen whether the British government intends to requisition Chelsea before authorizing a sale. It has been suggested that the proceeds from the sale would be frozen or placed in a charity fund.
Raine Group, the New York-based investment bank appointed by Abramovich to sell the club, told bidders on Thursday that the sale had been “paused” while “the parties review the implications of the developments and discuss next steps with authorities.” competent British people”.
In addition to Candy, Wyss, Boehly and Harris, a number of other mainly US-based businessmen are said to have formed consortia to consider submitting bids.
Fears are growing that Chelsea could plummet into administration if a sale is not completed quickly, as penalties prevent the club from collecting matchday revenue and sponsors begin to terminate contracts.
The club has been granted a special license to allow it to continue playing matches for the remainder of the season, but only season ticket holders and fans who have already purchased tickets will be able to attend matches. Chelsea will only be allowed to make payments ‘essential to the continued functioning of the club’.
Three, the British telecommunications company which is the team’s main shirt sponsor, last night suspended its £40m-a-year partnership with the club. Hyundai, his shirt sleeve sponsor in a deal worth £10m, said he was “assessing the situation with Chelsea FC”.
Nike, who signed a 15-year, £900million sponsorship deal with the club in 2016, are said to have “considered walking away”, according to the Mail.
Chelsea training kit sponsor Trivago said it would continue to support the club: “The uncertainty over the current ownership situation of Chelsea FC has been difficult. Going forward, it is important for us to continue to support the club, the fans and the community and the essential work the Chelsea Foundation does to help those in need.
“We look forward to a transition of ownership as soon as possible and want to support the club in this process.” – Guardian